Vacation, We Need to Talk — It’s Not You, It’s Me

vacation it's you not me

There’s no denying what we had together was one for the scrapbooks. For seven to 14 days at a time, we would put aside our workday worries and make Kodak moment memories as we toasted piña coladas beachside or skied down snowy mountain slopes, but we need to talk.

You couldn’t have seen this coming, but it’s over. I’ve lost my love for the short and sweet, all-expenses-paid resort escapes. I met the world when I stretched a two-week budget to last for months. I traded in private hotel rooms for hostel bunk beds and learned what gratitude means in the shape of two squishy earplugs.

Fuck the banality of clichés: travel is transformative and the wanderlust tattoos of rose compasses and world maps are overdone because what they symbolize is as real as love itself.

I don’t expect you to understand when I tell you of my affection for showers that freeze or scald, buses that break down, and constantly changing plans at the drop of an engine – er, hat. Yet somehow, there’s simply no coming back after getting to know Travel.

It was easy to understand Mandy Len Catron’s modern love story for The New York Times (To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This), because I’ve done it. I haven’t completed her research to the T following the doctor-prescribed 36 questions, but I’ve stepped into a room of strangers repeatedly, alone and stripped naked of my homegrown securities.

 

Vacation, We Need to Talk (It’s Not You, It’s Me)
La Paz, Boliva

What is it about travel that has created this wave of digital nomads, bloggers, freelancers, and wandering souls? It’s really no different from how those people felt in that study: they didn’t fall in love, they found themselves in it.

Fuck the banality of clichés: travel is transformative and the wanderlust tattoos of rose compasses and world maps are overdone because what they symbolize is as real as love itself.

The days are long and full of challenges as one’s patience is tested. More often than not, things won’t go as planned, and this in itself is why my view of you, Vacation, is irreparably damaged.

I want the days buses go on strike, strangers meet, thumbs stop cars, and morning tears turn to evening cheers as glasses clink to newfound friends.

Vacation, We Need to Talk — It’s Not You, It’s Me

Sit down with a traveler and don’t ask them the pointed questions of when they felt threatened or what was the strangest food they ever tried. The best stories are those with the making of a Disney movie blockbuster. It’s unlikely this princess’s hair is blown out, but it’s no question that her self-confidence will match that of any knight’s.

So you see, Vacation, there’s no seduction left in your familiar itineraries. Instead, I’ll choose the strange days and people that make me laugh and learn without realizing. I’ll take the heartbreak that follows every adventure’s lifecycle as another forever friend from a country far away heads west as I go east.

The road ahead is hard to see. It curves sharply and sometimes stops entirely without warning. Still, I’ll bet it all on the journey ahead and know that my feet, though bruised and changed by the land they’ve walked, will land exactly where they’re meant to.

Vacation, We Need to Talk (It’s Not You, It’s Me)
Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

This post was originally published on Chelsea’s blog, BRAVE (ISH) / Vacation, We Need to Talk — It’s Not You, It’s Me

About Chelsea Stuart

AvatarHooked on travel after a semester abroad in Australia, Chelsea Bond Stuart will soon be a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism headed off to solo backpack South America. As a student of convergence journalism, Chelsea enjoys multimedia storytelling and looks forward to kicking off a career from her office: the world! Follow her travels on her blog and on Twitter @bondchelseabond.

One thought on “Vacation, We Need to Talk — It’s Not You, It’s Me

  1. Sophia Chiang
    Sophia Chiang
    September 14, 2015
    Reply

    This is such a beautiful piece, every word true. Thanks for sharing!

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